Out at the movies—the OutEast Film Festival returns

Photo: Samson Learn/Samson Photography

Just three years since its first screening, the Out East Queer Film Festival has become a force on Atlantic Canada’s cinema scene. The festival, which runs June 12 to 15 at Neptune Theatre’s Studio Stage, owes its success to its ability to attract a broad audience. “Out East is very accessible,” says Andria Wilson, festival producer. “Our festival is about celebrating the best in LGBT film and sharing it with our community in Halifax. With six theatre screenings, a free public outdoor screening, our youth mentorship program, and amazing dance parties. Wwe’re always trying to create opportunities to do what we love—get people seeing films .”
Whip It, starring Ellen Page, opens the festival on June 12 with a free public screening at the skating Oval on Halifax common. “We’re so proud of Ellen and her amazing body of work, and her incredible public coming out speech on Valentine’s Day this year represented such a significant moment for our community,” Wilson says. “So we want to show Ellen some love by starting off Halifax’s LGBT film festival with an accessible, all-ages, public event centred around the screening.” The night will include the official welcome to the festival and guest appearances from Halifax’s Anchor City Rollers roller derby team. The Oval will be open for roller skating and roller blading throughout the screening, which will start at sundown.
This year, Wilson is particularly excited about To Be Takei, a documentary about George Takei, the Star Trek actor who came out in 2005. A special celebration follows the screening “Inspired by Takei, we’ll be throwing a ‘Gays in Space’ blowout party where we’ll encourage guests to dress in their finest sci-fi/astronaut/generally ‘out of this world’ apparel,” she says.
Read on for the complete festival program…

2014 OUTeast Film Festival Program—Features and Documentaries
Derby Crazy Love
Canadian documentary Derby Crazy Love takes viewers inside the adrenaline-­‐filled world of women’s roller derby. Meet Smack Daddy, Suzy Hotrod, Raw Heidi, Kamikaze Kitten, Bonnie Thunders and other badass warriors who are changing how we look at women in sport, one booty block at a time. As Derby Crazy Love begins, the most anticipated rematch in the new derby era looms. Montreal’s New Skids on the Block take on UK powerhouse London Rollergirls for a coveted shot at the international championships, while reigning world champions New York’s Gotham Girls defend their title. Featuring music by Montreal’s Plastik Patrik et les Brutes, Lesbians on Ecstasy and New York’s Kissy Kamikaze, Derby Crazy Love is a smart, fun, sexy ride through an extraordinary subculture. Thursday, June 12, 6PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
Whip It
Hometown hero Ellen Page became our very own homotown hero when she came out in a speech delivered at the HRC’s Time to Thrive Conference this past Valentine’s Day. We can’t speak for everyone, but for us, it was the best Valentine’s Day gift we have ever received. OutEast will kick off this year’s festival with what we like to call Ellen Page Appreciation Day. Join us at the Emera Oval for an outdoor screening of everyone’s favorite roller derby dramedy, Whip It and a skating party with the Anchor City Rollers. Thursday, June 12, 8PM Skating Party 9PM (Sundown) Screening / Oval
This soon-to-be-classic Dutch romance follows 15-year-­old Sieger, who when chosen to be a part of the boys relay team, meets Marc and begins to discover, and struggle with, his attraction to his teammate. There are shared ice creams, bike rides, secret swim dates, overnight training sessions, false starts and on top of all of that, the biggest race of their lives. For those who know the reference, we like to call this the boy version of Show Me Love. And even if you don’t know the reference, well, if you were ever a teenager and you had feelings, you will dig this. Screens with: Know Before You Go. Friday, June 13, 6:30PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
52 Tuesdays
16-­-year-­-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans to gender transition, limiting their time together only to Tuesdays. As her mother discovers more about who they are through transitioning, Billie discovers more about who she is through experimenting with friendship, art, sex and relationships. 52 Tuesdays explores their individual paths and the one that they create together, each Tuesday night. Filmed over the course of a yea (once a week, every week) only on Tuesdays, 52 Tuesdays is an emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility and transformation. Screens with: Curtains. Friday, June 13, 8:30PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
Children 404
Currently there are about 2.5 million LGBT children and teenagers in Russia. In June of 2013 Vladimir Putin signed into law a new bill that forbids “propaganda of non-­traditional sexual relations to minors.” LGBT young people are now defenceless as psychologists, teachers, and even parents could be fined or imprisoned for supporting LGBT young people. Loparev and Kurov’s shocking film shares the stories of forty five Russian teens as they fight back through the online community Children 404. Brilliantly illuminating the horrifying details of this injustice, Children 404 gives a voice to the brave group of Russian LGBT youth as they stand up against their peers and a society dominated by government-endorsed hate. Screens with: Unexplained As Yet. Saturday, June 14, 3:30PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
The Case Against 8
The Case Against 8 is a behind-­the-­scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-­sex marriage. The high-­profile trial first makes headlines with the unlikely pairing of Ted Olson and David Boies, political foes who last faced off as opposing attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The film also follows the plaintiffs, two gay couples who find their families at the center of the same-­sex marriage controversy. Five years in the making, this is the story of how they took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. Saturday, June 14, 6PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
To Be Takei
Ninety minutes of George Takei and there is something for everyone. For the history buff, the film delves into his family’s time in Japanese-­‐American internment camps. For the popular culture buff, we follow his career from the stereotypical Asian stock characters he started out playing to the pop culture hero, with almost seven million Facebook followers, he is today. For the musical theatre buff, we see the development of the musical, Allegiance, based on his own childhood. And for Star Trek fans, well, there isn’t anything for you. Just kidding, there is tons for you. An unlikely hero and a fascinating man with a wicked sense of humor, George Takei was born to have a documentary made about his life and Jennifer Kroot absolutely delivers. Saturday, June 14, 8:30PM / Neptune Studio Theatre
And Everything is Going Fine
Screening and Artist Talk
Screened in partnership with Magnetic North Theatre Festival, And Everything Is Going Fine is a documentary film about Spalding Gray, famous American actor and writer—known for his autobiographical monologues.From the first time he performed Swimming to Cambodia (a one-man account of his experience of making the 1984 film The Killing Fields) Gray made the art of the monologue his own. Drawing unstintingly on the most intimate aspects of his own life, his shows were vibrant, hilarious and moving. And Everything is Going Fine is a beautiful compilation of interview and performance footage that nails his idiosyncratic and irreplaceable brilliance. Award­‐winning Cape Breton playwright and performer Daniel MacIvor takes inspiration from this iconic writer in his solo show Who Killed Spalding Gray, which will premiere at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival later this June. Following the screening there is a talk with Daniel MacIvor, hosted by Halifax playwright Lee-­Anne Poole. Sunday, June 15, 1PM / Neptune Studio Theatre

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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